Tag Archives: StarTrek

Recurrent Themes – Commanders

Recurrent Themes – Commanders

Commanders make Star Trek go ‘round.
Commanders Martin Madden.jpg

Background

For every captain, ever since Kirk and Spock, Star Trek has always had a second. Or if you prefer looking at the timeline Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Commandershistorically, then the position dates back at least to Archer and T’Pol. And it continues to Picard and Riker, and Janeway and Tuvok.

 

Appearances

T’Pol

While this character exists in canon, I never really felt I could write her well until the E2 series of stories. T’Pol has competence and intelligence but, like a lot of Vulcan characters, can sometimes present a feeling of superiority.

Malcolm Reed

During the first E2 kick back in time, and then in the In Between Days time period, after Fortune, Malcolm gets the promotion. In E2, he gets it because Jonathan Archer promotes a number of people. In the post-Fortune time frame, he gets it due to Tripp Tucker’s untimely demise.

Travis Mayweather

And then in the Mirror Universe, Travis gets the nod for two reasons: one, because he and the Empress Hoshi Sato are sleeping together (although she makes an effort to sleep with every man on the ship) and two, because he makes a dandy human shield for her. Hoshi gets a measure of safety because people like Doug and Tripp realize Travis would be worse.

Karin Bernstein-Rosen

During the first E2 kick back in time, Karin gets increasing levels of responsibility, eventually rising to a very high level.

Martin Madden

For this canon character, he gets to shine in the Barnstorming series. I feel Martin Madden has a lot of potential as a character.

Daniya

While Mack MacKenzie technically has three people under her who could be second in command (the doctor refuses as she thinks it wouldn’t work), Daniya ends up being more of a second in command than Wesley Crusher or Crita (who would be too timid to really command, anyway).

Upshot

Seconds in command make vital decisions and keep ships running. Without them, the captain would do too much. Furthermore, seconds in command often do the more dangerous work of command – as well as a lot of the more mundane.

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Portrait of a Character – Libba

Portrait of a Character – Libba

Libba takes on a life of her own.

Origins

In The Cure is Worse Than the Disease, I wanted a kind of sandwich wife, who would get the worst of both worlds. Enter Libba.

Portrayal

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Vizsla Libba
Libba (image of a Hungarian Vizsla is for educational purposes only)

Like nearly all Daranaean characters no one really ‘plays’ Libba. This is an image of a Hungarian Viszla. Readers are encouraged to use their imaginations.

Personality

Timid, oppressed, not very bright, and more than a little frightened much of the time, Libba is the very definition of stuck. Her position as a secondary wife requires her to do much of the reproductive heavy lifting. At the same time, she is also in charge of homeschooling the children. She is tired and weakened from her burdens. All she wants is for it to stop already.

Relationships

Elemus

Like all other Daranaean women of her time, Libba marries once and that’s it. There are no other options or prospects for her. If Elemus predeceases her, she will not have an opportunity to remarry.

Mirror Universe

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Mirror Universe Libba
Mirror Libba (Vizsla)

I have never explored Mirror Universe Daranaean women.

The idea of the women possibly being in charge or assertive is intriguing and I may write it some day.

Quote

“I will, one of these days, I will die. I keep getting more and more tired, and weaker. The last time, it was less than a month from when I gave birth to when I became pregnant again. I was sick and weak and still pouch feeding, but already moved onto this one,” she indicated the baby in her pouch. {and} “I do not think I can do this anymore. I don’t want to do it anymore.”

Upshot

At the end of Flight of the Bluebird, things have considerably improved for the third caste women. But secondaries don’t get a lot of improvements to their lives. To Dr. Nguyen, Libba looks tired. She undoubtedly is.

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Spotlight on Darvellians

Spotlight on Darvellians

Darvellians are an older invention.

Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | If You Can't Stand the Heat | Darvellians

First introduced in If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Darvellians were intended as a kind of alien of the week.

I haven’t written a follow up to this story yet, but I can absolutely see where they fit into my own personal Star Trek fan fiction canon.

 

 

 

Characteristics

I don’t have too much on them. They are gray and furry, and they like it cold. When they board the Enterprise, in an effort to kidnap members of the crew for their scientific experiments, they turn the environmental controls down to -20⁰ C. In Fahrenheit, that’s -4⁰. It is cold, particularly when a person is only wearing a standard uniform.

The only other piece of information I have on them is their use of sulphur-oxylic gas to knock everyone out. Sulphur-oxylic gas is utterly made up by me and the term really doesn’t mean anything.

With no picture, I am going with the gray wolf as inspiration.

Spotlight on Darvellians
Darvellian (gray wolf)

Certainly this animal fits the bill in terms of generalized look.

Darvellian Descendants

Well, not really descendants, per se, but the idea of the Darvellians has been used again by me, particularly in the creation of the similarly-named and similarly-looking Daranaeans.  The difference, of course, is that the Daranaeans are considerably better developed.

The idea of knocking out the entire ship with gas was repeated, to a far greater effect, in Together. In that story, it’s the Witannen, with their Imvari henchmen, who perform the deed. As with the Daranaeans, the second use of this piece of the plot is better realized. The older story certainly shows its seams, but some of the ideas were good ones. I just needed to mature more as a writer in order to be able to show them more effectively.

Upshot

These aliens were barely shown but the idea of them is, I think, pretty neat. I should figure out a way to trot them out again.

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Portrait of a Character – L’Cultura

Portrait of a Character – L’Cultura

Origins

Portrait of a Character – L’Cultura
Dame Judi Dench as L’Cultura

With readers asking for a sequel to Eriecho‘s origins story (Release), I wanted to explore the Suliban side of her family. Enter L’Cultura, whose name is Italian for ‘culture’.

Portrayal

L’Cultura is played by Dame Judi Dench. This smart and legendary actress seems perfect for the role of a newly created matriarch of a suddenly larger and more complicated family.

Personality

Frail and perhaps a bit defeated, L’Cultura knows that her daughter, H’Shema, was untrustworthy and prone to addictions. The news of H’Shema’s imprisonment in Canamar is not unexpected. The news of her death in prison isn’t much of a shock, either.

Relationships

L’Cultura has no known relationships.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to L’Cultura existing in the Mirror.

Portrait of a Character – L’Cultura
Dame Judi Dench as Mirror L’Cultura

There have never been Mirror Suliban shown in canon.

I like to think she’d be tougher, as a lot of women on the other side of the pond have to be.

Quote

“I can see, a bit, why your kind would like to suppress emotions. The hard ones can be very hard indeed. I, I mourned my own eriecho many years ago, a girl lost to addiction and then to imprisonment. But as I said, the bitter comes with the sweet. And we can celebrate today, my ta-eriecho.”

Upshot

While L’Cultura’s acceptance is important to Eriecho, the truth is that some of it works the other way around. As her son, Enkir, explains, L’Cultura had been hoarding medications and probably considering suicide. But the existence of the unknown and unexpected granddaughter turns that around, and L’Cultura has a reason to live.

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Portrait of a Character – Leland Loomis

Portrait of a Character – Leland Loomis

Origins

The character is, of course, canon, and comes from the Carpenter Street episode.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Leland Loomi
Leland Orser as Loomis

As in canon, Loomis (who had no first name in canon) is played by Leland Orser.

This image is actually from the film Se7en, but I think it’s perfect.

Personality

Weaselly, immoral, slobby, and snappish, Leland is always on the make. In canon, he willingly brings victims to people who it’s later determined are Xindi Reptilians hellbent on committing genocide on the human race.

I follow him after the episode, into the maximum security mental hospital that is sure to be his next residence.

Relationships

Leland’s only known (sort of) relationship is with Phyllis in the asylum. But, really, there’s nothing there.

Theme Music

Of course, his theme song is KISS’s Detroit Rock City.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Leland existing in the Mirror. Maybe he’d be kinder.

Portrait of a Character – Leland Loomis
Leland Orser with his real-life wife, the actress Jeanne Tripplehorn

Maybe he’d even have a family. The possibilities are pretty open although I have no idea where I’d put him. His story, Detroit Rock City, is the earliest full story in the In Between Days series. He even predates Rita Spinelli and Donald Janeway, and Lily Sloane and Zefram Cochrane, so I’m not so sure who he’d be interacting with, except for the first Dr. Morgan (maybe). Bringing the Mirror Universe further into the past isn’t on my current radar unless I really feel compelled to write something new.

Quote

“I’m not faking it. And Christ on a cracker, man, I am not nutso! It’s real!”

Upshot

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Review – Wider Than the Sargasso Sea

Review – Wider Than the Sargasso Sea

The Sargasso Sea? It might be a stretch. Or maybe not. The gulf between different people and different species certainly feels impossible to surmount.

Background

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Wider than the Sargasso Sea
Wider than the Sargasso Sea

So for a prompt about working together, I made a decision to revisit Gina Nolan‘s universe and wrap things up a bit. The best way,  I felt, was to try to bring the story more or less full circle. Hence the Nolan family would have to meet the Breen head on, but not in battle. Instead, in peacetime, they would have to deal with them, somehow. And for Gina and Freela in particular, that feels way too hard.

Plot

It’s about twenty years since the Breen attack on Earth. Gina and Gabby have more or less moved on.  Gina has even remarried, to the Klingon, Kittriss. Life’s going pretty well, and Gabrielle is in a special school for the performing arts. Freela, her Klingon stepsister, is starting college (she’s going into engineering).

Then a Breen family moves into the neighborhood, and Gina is one of the many people yelling, “Breen, go home!

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I don’t know if the solution was too pat. I didn’t want for there to be easy answers, but I don’t know. I’m a bit ambivalent about this story. I feel that the characterizations are good and the plot line is a decent one. But I do wonder if the story arc and its payoff are truly believable, and I welcome feedback (as I do for all of the things I write).

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Portrait of a Character – Mistra

Portrait of a Character – Mistra

Mistra works as a braver character than Libba, although there are similarities between the two secondary female Daranaean characters.

Origins

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Mistra
Mistra, one of the Daranaeans (secondary female)

After writing The Cure is Worse Than the Disease, I got a lot of requests to follow the story and see what else would happen to Daranaean women.

Hence the idea of a protest was irresistible, but the protesters needed something to, well, protest.

Enter the innocent, Mistra.

Portrayal

I generally don’t have anyone ‘playing’ Daranaean characters. Mistra is no exception. But if anyone has any ideas, feel free to put them into the comments section. These images are, of course, of German Shepherd dogs.

Personality

Meek and mild, like most Daranaean secondary wives, Mistra isn’t one for leading like Dratha. But she isn’t completely helpless, like Cama. Instead, she’s in the middle, the filling in the sandwich. And like most secondaries, her job is not only homeschooling the very young sons and most of the daughters (but not the third caste daughters, who are often kept illiterate), but also with the reproductive heavy lifting. It is a difficult and tiring life at best.

When she’s accused of murder, there’s all she can do to keep it together. Confused and frightened, she’s about ready to resign herself to an unfair, unjust, and cruel fate, when others step in.

Relationships

Mistra’s only known relationship is with her husband, Arnis.

Mirror Universe

I have never written Mirror Universe Daranaeans, but the idea is an interesting one.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | MU Mistra | German Shepherd Dog
MU Mistra (image of a German Shepherd Dog is for educational purposes only)

Would the women be in charge there? All I have on them is Empress Hoshi complaining that their planet always smells like wet dog, plus it’s the scene of the faking of Richard Daniels‘s death. Maybe something else could come out of that. I’m not sure.

Maybe Mistra’s intelligence would be celebrated. Maybe she’d even have some confidence.

Quote

“Arnis! Please! I am, am, I am innocent!”

Upshot

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Recurrent Themes – Plant Lovers

Recurrent Themes – Plant Lovers

Background

Botanists and plant lovers are canon. In the original Star Trek series, Sulu and Rand both attend to plants. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Plant Lovers In The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, Keiko Ishikawa O’Brien is a Botanist.

For an older ship like the NX-01, I felt like there absolutely had to be a Botanist.

Appearances

Naomi Curtis

Only seen during If You Can’t Stand the Heat, I’ve retconned her and now consider her to be the first Botanist on the NX-01 Enterprise. Much like Preston Jennings is shifted over to Navigation and Lili O’Day is hired for the Xindi War, Naomi is thrown over for the better skilled and more versatile Shelby. A pity for Chef Will Slocum, as she’s an early love interest for him. But they do get to fight off the Darvellians together.

Shelby Pike

Pike is the best-realized of my botany and plant-loving characters. Her talents range from growing food crops to keeping everyone sane with flowers, colorful fruits, and other pleasant reminders of home.

Eriecho

A true gardener and homebody at heart, Eriecho grows yellow peppers. It’s at her garden patch that she and Sollastek first scandalously hold hands.

Von

Recurrent Themes – Plant LoversA Ferengi engineer at the Temporal Integrity Commission, Von is also an amateur gardener, and gives Sheilagh Bernstein a yellow tulip while she’s deciding whether to join the commission.

Michael Nolan

Gina Nolan‘s late husband is in his Beijing lab, studying Bajoran dicotyledons, when he’s killed during the Breen attack on Earth.

Other Characters

The Hayes family and the Warren family farm during Concord, but that’s more a matter of survival and economics rather than study. Many of the Daranaean women also garden, and in particular they will grow Krivian weed, which is shaped into a type of boxwood-style hedge. But that’s not just for beauty’s sake; Krivian weed can be chewed in order to determine the gender of a fetus a pregnant woman is carrying. In the E2 timeline, Esilia and the other Ikaaran women farm as a part of their obligation to their government.

Upshot

They may have their heads in the stars, but their feet are on the ground; they’re the gardeners, Botanists, farmers, and plant lovers of Star Trek.

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Portrait of a Character – D’Storlin

Portrait of a Character – D’Storlin

D’Storlin has troubles.

Origins

Spock was always such an incredibly well-adjusted person, given his circumstances and birth. And I always felt that that made little sense. Even with a genius IQ and half-Vulcan blood, I always figured it would make infinitely more sense for him to have been more unhinged. Enter D’Storlin.

Portrayal

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | D’Storlin | DStorlin
D’Storlin

I see the actor Vincent Kartheiser in this role.

He’s got somewhat interesting credentials, including Mad Men and time on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff, Angel.

I like that he’s got a background of playing weaselly characters. Because D’Storlin has major issues.

Personality

Penitent, but with a hot temper and a lack of patience, D’Storlin is angry at the world. And it is for how a dead baby crocodile is treated in his Biology class (the animal is a subject for dissection).

Relationships

D’Storlin has no known relationships.

Mirror Universe

I don’t have a Mirror Universe counterpart for D’Storlin, but there are no impediments to his existence.

Portrait of a Character – D’Storlin
Vincent Kartheiser as Mirror D’Storlin

For what he did to John, he wouldn’t be sent to a school for troubled children. Instead, he’d get a promotion.

Quote

“I see the egg tooth, you know, the one you use to get outta the shell? I don’t remember coming out of the shell, of course, but I remember seeing my little sister – she and I weren’t in the same clutch. {and} I remember seeing her struggle and struggle but she finally made it and my parents and my clutch brothers and sisters, we all cheered. And then we had hamburgers, I remember. Funny, the things you remember.”

Upshot

I like this creepy character, but I do not know where to put him next.

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Review – Red

Review – Red

Red plays on the color and on Norri’s hair. Because this character has the least amount of development of all of the main characters in the In Between Days series (even Pamela Hudson has more depth and detail to her), it works to give Norri her due. And, again, the title plays on words as well, putting the color together with mortification.

Background

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Norri | Red
Norri D’Giorno

Hence for a prompt about embarrassment, I went with not only the color of your face but the color of Norri Digiorno‘s hair.

I had some hints about the first meeting between her and Melissa Madden in Fortune, but had not written it. The opportunity presented itself on a silver platter, so I went ahead with this sweet little story about love at first sight.

Plot

As Norri vacations on Ceres just after graduating from Oklahoma State with a BA in English Literature, pilot Melissa hangs out at a hotel bar with her pilot friends.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Norri| Red
Norri

So Norri is checking out Melissa, big time. Melissa is playing it a little cooler. Finally, when Melissa’s friends leave, she crooks her finger just once, and Norri comes running. And, as Norri herself says on her deathbed in Fortune, she (Norri) never left. This love, much like the loves throughout the family and the series, is eternal. She really means forever.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

It was an irresistible story to write, to get these two crazy kids together for the first time. For the main characters of In Between Days, their first meeting and first ‘date’ are the most normal.

This one was a joy to write, and hopefully readers find it a joy to read as well.

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